Creole Belle begins where the last novel in the Dave Robicheaux series, The Glass Rainbow, ended. Dave is at a recovery unit on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, not quite sure what is real and what may be the effects of the painkillers. A Creole girl named Tee Jolie Melton visits him in the middle of the night and leaves him an iPod with the old country blues song “Creole Belle” on it. Then she disappears. Dave becomes obsessed with the song and the memory of Tee Jolie, with whom he associates the Louisiana of his youth.
These events occur in the midst of an oil well blowout on the Gulf and the pollution of the Louisiana coastline. Clete Purcel, who was also badly wounded in the shootout on the bayou in the last book, joins Dave in a search for Tee Jolie’s sister, Blue Melton, who later turns up inside a block of ice floating in the Gulf.
Along the way, we meet a mercurial woman named Varina Leboeuf who is mixed up in the oil business, and a man who may have been an associate of Nazi SS Commander Heinrich Himmler. Clete also discovers that he has an illegitimate daughter, one who has gone to work as a contract killer.
Eventually, the enormity of the environmental crime committed against the Gulf coast, and the public and government indifference to it, present Dave and Clete with their essential dilemma: Like Cassandra of Troy, bestowed by Apollo with the gift of prophecy, both of them can see the future but are fated to be disbelieved.